💬 The Wrap
I'm cat sitting this week, and the neighbour's cat has decided that sticking his bum hole in my face is a good way to assist me in sending this. Hello there and yes this is still Emojipedia's free monthly newsletter.
One article that I wrote recently made a number of people upset either in a performative way, or perhaps realistic. I'm never all that sure. The ire focused on the last section about not using the laughing crying emoji 😂 lest you be called a boomer ("someone over the age of 35") on TikTok. That's not the main point of the article, but it is a popular sentiment on the youth app.
I'm not here to tell you how to use an emoji, but it is helpful to note possible ways you might be interpreted using an emoji in different contexts. Some of the reach might have been from Matt Navarra's popular Geekout Newsletter which also expanded the reach of the observation. I think (??) most people took it at the appropriate level of interest/indignation, but if anyone did miss the hidden wink, I am also over the age of 35 (👴) and on TikTok.
⏬ Skip this part if you want some fun emoji articles instead of standards body naval-gazing ⏬
A few interesting notes from the most recent Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) meeting in January. To bring you up to speed: UTC is the meeting where decisions are made about which Unicode characters to approve. This includes emojis. I represent Emojipedia, which as a Supporting Member has 0.5 of a vote. Recently Salesforce - the company that acquired Slack - become a full member with 1.0 votes at these meetings. The vote might appear like the most important aspect of membership, but in practice it's very rarely used. As part of proceedings various submissions are made, including those from the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee ("ESC"). Disclaimer: I am also a part of that subcommittee. Have I bored you yet? Sorry. 🔥⚡️🌟🌵
A clarification in the latest ESC report is that Unicode won't be accepting new subdivision flag proposals. This isn't exactly new, as Unicode's prior position on this was to simply 'make vendors aware' of proposals. No approval or rejection.
For subdivisions of the world (of which there are over 5,000, many of which don't have flags, or might be disputed) the rule is: if a vendor (eg Twitter, WhatsApp or Apple) wants to support one of those flags, they can. It's valid, and will work on any platform that supports them. It's just that Unicode doesn't want to dictate which go on the RGI (Recommended for General Interchange) list.
Until now, you could still submit proposals for this category of flags. Now, you can't. They won't be accepted. Again, this doesn't stop companies from supporting any of the subdivision flags of the world, just don't send a proposal to Unicode about it. Non-geographic flags are still accepted for review, using the same criteria as any other emoji.
On a related note, Unicode has also published a schedule for when emoji submissions will be accepted. The next opportunity will be from April 2, 2021. In the past the window 🪟 was open at all times. Now, any proposals must be in by August 31, 2021. Proposals after that date will not be reviewed until 2022.
If you do submit a proposal in the coming months and it is accepted? It will come to phones in 2023, or perhaps late 2022 at the earliest. Standards bodies aren't setup to move quickly, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
⏫ Okay that's enough of that for a month. ⏫
Onto the links.
🔍 Emoji search arrives on iPadOS 14.5
Emoji search came to iOS in 2020, but oddly was missing in the bigger but almost identical older sibling, iPadOS. It's there in the upcoming iOS 14.5.
As an aside: has anyone noticed iOS and macOS search get considerably worse in the latest releases? Years ago on the Mac, emoji search was limited-but-good, then went very bad. Last year emoji search improved when rolled out to iOS, but recently I'm seeing all kinds of phrases that used to work, now fail to produce results. Try "black cat" on your iPhone. Used to work, doesn't now. At least for me.
🧑💼 Unicode Consortium looking to hire an Executive Director
Putting this out there for anyone that might be suitable for this (paid) role.
🕰 Emoji Time is Meaningless
Why are there so many clocks, and do people actually use them for the time shown on the clockface? Jane Solomon investigates.
😔 People Are Using An Emoji Feature To Abuse LGBT People Online
This did a lap of the news in 2019. And don't get me wrong: hate speech on social platforms should be moderated. Users who spam 'anti LGBT flag' emojis (the 🏳️🌈 Rainbow Flag emoji covered by a black and white 🚫 glyph) as a form of harassment should face suspensions or bans.
But calling for a ban on a specific Unicode 'hack' that any character can have a 'banned' glyph placed on it is equivalent to asking Apple to ban typing slurs. They're awful, but the place to fix them is where they are posted publicly, not at an OS level.
✍️ What Happens in the TikTok Comments
Emoji use has its own flavor on TikTok. Mostly in a good way. I dive into what's going on there, from the ✍️Lesson✍️Pen✍️ right the way through to the 🤪Emoji🎢Rollercoaster☄️.
⬛️ Why Do Celebrities Put Emojis On Kids Faces In Photos?
Filed under: emoji use through convenience. So much of emoji popularity is just that they are in places we often don't have graphical controls.
🥲 I’m so proud of you :,)
A love letter to the new 🥲 Smiling Face with Tear emoji from Jennifer Daniel. This has already become a top-10 emoji looked up on Emojipedia, since its release in 2020. "Smiling Face with Tear 🥲 is a valuable, gentle expression that exists in between extreme emotions"
🪧 Field Guide To Political Emojis
A useful list of emojis people use on social media to align with certain political movements. The main difficulty with creating lists like this - and I speak as someone who has to consider this daily - is how much you're influencing the use by documenting it.
If a certain emoji gets an obscure meaning in a small circle, that doesn't immediately mean that's the main use. But if a major platform documents that, the use could be driven by the documentation. Figuring out the threshold for real-world use before documenting is key, and there's possibly no exact right time to do so. Just something to keep in mind.
🤪 160 awesome, ridiculous, and downright creepy Gboard emoji combos
Android users in the past year might have noticed new emoji combinations appearing on the keyboard.
Technically stickers, the biggest drawback is that these can't be sent inline like 'regular' emojis. Not a fault of Google here, truly custom emojis within Unicode text just isn't a tech available right now. The creativity behind the combinations is truly great, and has brought more awareness and joy from the Android emoji set than has been seen in a long time.
👔 What is emoji productivity?
I've not seen the term 'emoji productivity' before, but I quite like it. Basically: the apps where 'emoji' is the theme for communications (via Matt Haughey on Twitter.
👀 Serena Williams' Husband Shuts Down "Sexist" Comment
🍑👀 seems suggestive until you know it's in reference to the US state of Georgia and not the more common use of the peach emoji.
Speaking of the peach. It seemed like discussion the emoji spelling of Im🍑ment might be a one-off affair last year. That was not the case. Note this is the original article from 2020, not one that references round two in 2021.
📲 Google Emoji 13.1 Changelog
There's mounting evidence that Google is looking to improve emoji rollouts for non-Pixel users stuck on Android phones that don't get OS updates. But so far, nothing concrete. These new '2021' emojis came to Android in December, but only for Pixel users. Still, it's a nice update.
Google's made a few attempts at improving emoji delivery on Android over the years. Often hamstrung by the various Android builds, OEMs, carriers, regions and the like. If it could get to a point where every Android device gets new emoji support on a specific date (rather than a random mix that takes weeks, months or years) that will be a huge win for the platform.
👍 Take note, Stephen Donnelly
This one does a round every now and then, and I agree that in some contexts the thumbs up emoji is saying "I'm done with this conversation" (but not always)
😈 First use of Devil emoji in New Yorker?
As I tweeted at the time, print publications can't just insert a native emoji, but need to pick a vendor design. IMO the New Yorker should use the Facebook design for this set, as that's how most people would have seen it.
💩 Amazon’s next headquarters is a glass poop emoji covered in trees
Apparently every helix-shaped object in the 2010s is referred to as some variation of a poop emoji. Just before publishing, I saw this from Anne Quito at Quartz, who makes this point more clearly.
🛻 The economic value of Ford Motors' emoji truck
Some background on Ford's plan for a 🛻 Pickup Truck emoji in podcast form. This emoji was approved in 2020 and is now on all platforms.
Some questionable tactics used by Ford or their ad agency here. The proposal came listed as being from an individual, with no reference to the ad agency that person worked for, nor that this was coming from Ford as part of an ad campaign. While anyone is permitted to submit an emoji proposal on its merits, it's a bit cheeky doing so as a giant company, hiding that it's from you in the first place IMO.
🧧 Happy Lunar New Year. Yes there's the emoji angle on that too.